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Holy MoDot! Have you been to Van Buren lately?

Posted Tuesday, May 27, 2008, at 8:17 PM

This photo was taken on Tuesday, May 27, 2008. It shows the construction progress on Missouri Highway 60 through the southern part of the state, between Poplar Bluff and Springfield. This stretch is west of Van Buren.
Yes, friends and fellow bloggers, I have been off on another great adventure into the wilds of Missouri. Last Friday, I headed off to see my family in Springfield, and I was absolutely AMAZED (Do I overuse that word??) by the progress that has been made on the Highway 60 improvements from Poplar Bluff west!

Wow, wow, wow!!

I was through the area as late as February 17, 2008; in fact, I probably make 6 - 10 trips across the southern part of Missouri each year, so I've been keeping up with the progress on the highway - but I was totally shocked by what I saw on this trip!

I just got back this afternoon, so I haven't had time to call MoDot to find out some details on the project.

In particular, I want to ask them what'll happen to this particular project if the Missouri Legislature suspends the gas tax for this summer. I really wonder if that's a good idea. I wouldn't want to see that project stopped. We here in the southern part of the state have had to drive over those roads for years, and it's so good to see them brought up to quality standards. It surely will be good for tourism in Missouri.

What do you think, folks? I'll post some more details on here in a day or two.

6/01/08 Update: I called the MoDOT hotline (just kidding - It isn't "hot.") and a nice young lady said she would email me some info, but she also directed me to the MoDOT website, www.modot.org. At the risk of sounding like a governmental official (which I know will really tick Shannonhoon off), I'm including what they have on the Route 60 Corridor Project, which is in District 9 (neat map on the site).

"The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) has committed to improving Missouri's 5,500 miles of major highways, which carries nearly 80 percent of the state's traffic. Approximately 95 percent of Missouri's residents live within 10 miles of these roads.

Several projects are listed in the 2008-2012 Statewide Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP). The STIP was approved by the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission (MHTC) during the July meeting. After the STIP is approved and projects are let and then awarded, updates will be made on the Route 60 project information page.To accomplish this, MoDOT works under the following programs:

Amendment 3 - The majority of the construction projects are being funded through Amendment 3, which was approved by Missouri voters in November 2004. The amendment gives the department a larger portion of existing vehicle sales taxes. It forwarded existing highway taxes to road and bridge construction. The law requires that any Amendment 3 revenue be spent only on road improvements.

Better Roads, Brighter Futures -- A follow-up to the Smooth Roads Initiative, which brought 2,200 miles of major road up to good condition, this program takes on the next wave of 3,300 miles by the end of 2011. Improvements include roadway surface treatments and safety improvements such as wider striping, brighter signing, additional rumble strips and improved shoulders.

Statewide Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP) -- The STIP is a five-year plan, which outlines projects identified as priorities by MoDOT and its regional planning partners. Once the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission approve the STIP, its contents become commitments of the department. STIP 2008-2010

Completion of the entire Route 60 Corridor is expected by the end of 2010.

If additional information is required, contact the MoDOT Customer Service Center, toll-free, at 1-888-ASK MoDOT (275-6636)."

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I just came through Van Buren on Friday. Holy MoDOT! is right. They're clearing and building like crazy. It won't be too many years and Hwy 60 will be 4 lane all the way across the state. Won't that be wonderful? No one will be able to afford the gas to travel anymore, but the roads will be great.

-- Posted by mokath52 on Sat, Jun 14, 2008, at 10:31 PM

Riding a bicycle up hills can be very good excercise. I have done it alot in the past around Zalma. The dowhill treks can be exciting(and dangerous) lol I would like to see some work done to co rd 413 it's worse than ANY gravel road around here. If they cannot fix it right then just dig up the asphalt and make it gravel. It would definately be smoother than it is now.

-- Posted by MikeM68 on Tue, Jun 10, 2008, at 10:46 PM

Oh wow! You'd have to be a fantastic bike rider to get up some of those hills around Van Buren. I guess people do it - ala the Tour De France, but not this little yellow duck. I'm pleased just to see those lanes where slower traffic has to pull over. I remember trips before MODOT put in those lanes and we'd ALWAYS get stuck behind a logging truck. Aggggh!

-- Posted by Ducky on Mon, Jun 9, 2008, at 1:23 PM

Mmm...I can't imagine bike lanes in that remote region... Still, it would sure save on gas.

-- Posted by goat lady on Mon, Jun 2, 2008, at 9:56 PM

GL, So that means the money can be used to put in bike lanes on the highway?

-- Posted by FJGuy on Mon, Jun 2, 2008, at 9:00 PM

Very true, I.B. Take this quote from the above blog: "The law requires that any Amendment 3 revenue be spent only on road improvements."

-- Posted by goat lady on Mon, Jun 2, 2008, at 6:55 AM

The price of gas doesn't really go down, but I don't think the money can be diverted. I went through there Satrday and things are really moving at a rapid pace. Hopefully they will keep with it and soon it will finished.

-- Posted by I.B. Le Truth on Mon, Jun 2, 2008, at 6:31 AM

MD, There is a years long lead time on road projects, so the ones on MH60 were probably first proposed when gas was around $1.50/gallon. Overall people are already driving less (taking fewer and shorter trips), so if the price of gas (that is pushing $5/gallon in metro areas) doesn't go down appreciably, I wonder how many of the current road projects (other than replacement of dangerous bridges) will actually need to be undertaken? Where would the best place be to divert that unused highway construction money?

-- Posted by FJGuy on Sun, Jun 1, 2008, at 5:36 PM
Madeline Dejournett's response:
No, no! I'm not willing to suggest any diversion of funds to other projects! I want good roads, whether or not I have the money to buy gas to travel over them! Surely this crisis won't last! Surely we'll find a way out of this gas mess!

I picked up on another comment you made--that you were going to call MODOT to see what was going on.

Every time my husband and I are driving somewhere and he sees road construction going on, he always tries to figure out what they're up to.

"Now why in the world are they draggin' that dirt way over here?" blah blah blah

I always say, "Why don't you call MODOT?"!

-- Posted by lovebooks on Sat, May 31, 2008, at 8:28 AM
Madeline Dejournett's response:
Hey, lovebooks, good to see you here! Has your sister come to see you yet? I remember that was gonna happen in June, wasn't it?

I didn't see this post, but it looks as if I read your mind! I just posted the additional info. However, I still didn't get to talk to anyone, other than the nice young lady. I feel reasonably sure that "nice young ladies" could not be MoDOT engineers... An engineer named Tom Stehn is given as the one in charge of the Corridor 60 project. Think I need to give him a call??

GL, you are right about how small scooters are -- Yikes! -- they might be OK around town and in rural areas, but in a large metro area a rider should have a large life insurance policy paid for by the gas savings! A scooter might be perfect for MD to gallivant around SC during the summer as she does her crack reporting and expert picture taking.

-- Posted by FJGuy on Fri, May 30, 2008, at 6:00 PM

Madeline: Hope you were being sarcastic about a government agency not starting a project unless the money was there to complete it..........

-- Posted by shannonhoon on Fri, May 30, 2008, at 1:32 PM
Madeline Dejournett's response:
I called MoDot and was directed to their website, www.modot.org, which states that:

"Amendment 3 - The majority of the construction projects are being funded through Amendment 3, which was approved by Missouri voters in November 2004. The amendment gives the department a larger portion of existing vehicle sales taxes. It forwarded existing highway taxes to road and bridge construction. The law requires that any Amendment 3 revenue be spent only on road improvements."

By the way, it would be hard NOT to get a good photo of that countryside. It is SO beautiful! Too bad you can't make a living in Paradise!

-- Posted by goat lady on Thu, May 29, 2008, at 8:44 PM

Bronson was a wonderful actor, but his movies were always so violent. Oh, what am I talking about? I'm half-watching CSI right now, and talk about violence!

Does it seem like there are already more cycles and scooters on the road, since the gas prices went up? Some of the cycles are so TINY! I don't see how they can be safe!

-- Posted by goat lady on Thu, May 29, 2008, at 8:40 PM

GL, motorcycles are great fun -- except that one inattentive driver can make for a very bad day no matter how defensively you ride. I expect that if gas prices don't drop soon some people will turn to motorcycles and scooters (that can get over 100 mpg) to save money, so I expect that the number of people maimed and killed while riding will increase. Talk about reruns, would be great to see Then Came Bronson and his Harley again.

-- Posted by FJGuy on Thu, May 29, 2008, at 8:25 PM

Hahaha! I've never ridden a motorcycle in my life!! In that particular photo, on that particular highway, on that particular day, it just looks like fun!

-- Posted by goat lady on Thu, May 29, 2008, at 8:12 PM

By the way MD, nice pictures and probably a nice camera. Good work.

-- Posted by changedname on Thu, May 29, 2008, at 2:05 PM
Madeline Dejournett's response:
Thanks, dexterite! It did turn out remarkably well, no thanks to my skill. The camera is automatic, but I've noticed that the photos look absolutely fantastic when we post them on these blogs. The same photo will often look terrible in the newspaper. I think it must have something to do with the ink.

No, I wouldn't love to be on one of those motorcycles; but your comment tells us a lot about our goat lady! My opinion on suspending the gas tax is that it would do more harm to the total population than good to the individual.

-- Posted by gardengirl on Thu, May 29, 2008, at 11:36 AM

Wouldn't ya love to be on one of those motorcycles???

-- Posted by goat lady on Wed, May 28, 2008, at 8:46 PM

LOVE the new highway!!!

And I haven't seen any "MoDot sucks!" signs on this part of the project!

-- Posted by goat lady on Wed, May 28, 2008, at 8:44 PM

ms MD, I imagine the monies has already been appropriated for the Highway completion. It is super that we are getting the new roads to Springfield and vicinities, I go to K City quite often and I like that road better than going to St Louis. I think we need to be ready for $4.00 a gallon for gas for a long time.

-- Posted by changedname on Wed, May 28, 2008, at 8:29 PM
Madeline Dejournett's response:
Yes, I'm sure you're right - They wouldn't start a project without having the money to complete it.

Wow is right, MD. I can't believe the progress they've made. It's going to be wonderful when they're finished.

As little as the gas sales tax would save us on a tank of gas, I would not want to trade off that bit of money for an end to the road and bridge work in Missouri for the summer. That would be awful.

-- Posted by Ducky on Wed, May 28, 2008, at 1:08 PM

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Madeline (Giles) DeJournett is the Advance writer for the North Stoddard Countian. A retired high school English/history teacher, she spent 32 years teaching in 5 schools in Missouri and Alaska. These days, she lives quietly with a menagerie of wild and domestic animals on 52 secluded acres in the remote Tillman hills south of Advance. She graduated from Dexter High School in 1960 and Southeast Missouri State in 1964. She can be contacted at advancensc@sbcglobal.net.
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